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RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS FOLLOWING THE MARCH 18, 2015 USD PRESENTATION.
In addition to the links and citations below, a wealth of information is available at the website www.ConscienceDefense.org, under "Resources & Media" and "March 18, 2015-Resources for a recent talk given by Charles LiMandri on the subject ‘Are people born gay?’" Additional information is also available under the "Resources" tab at www.AlumniForACatholicUSD.org.
Questions for Mr. LiMandri on Whether Homosexuality is Innate and Immutable:
0. Please provide additional information about the specific quotes you made about gay men having 400 partners on average
The statistics to which we were referring in the talk can be found on the website of the Family Research Council at http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02:"The Dutch study of partnered homosexuals, which was published in the journal AIDS, found that men with a steady partner had an average of eight sexual partners per year." Maria Xiridou, et al, "The Contribution of Steady and Casual Partnerships to the Incidence of HIV Infection among Homosexual Men in Amsterdam," AIDS 17 (2003): 1031.
"Bell and Weinberg, in their classic study of male and female homosexuality, found that 43 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners, with 28 percent having one thousand or more sex partners." A. P. Bell and M. S. Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), pp. 308, 309.
"In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in the Journal of Sex Research, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that ‘the modal range for number of sexual partners ever [of homosexuals] was 101-500.’ In addition, 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent had between 501 and 1,000 partners. A further 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent reported having had more than one thousand lifetime sexual partners." Paul Van de Ven et al., "A Comparative Demographic and Sexual Profile of Older Homosexually Active Men," Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 354.
"A survey conducted by the homosexual magazine Genre found that 24 percent of the respondents said they had had more than one hundred sexual partners in their lifetime. The magazine noted that several respondents suggested including a category of those who had more than one thousand sexual partners." "Sex Survey Results," Genre (October 1996), quoted in "Survey Finds 40 percent of Gay Men Have Had More Than 40 Sex Partners," Lambda Report, January 1998: 20.
1-3. What was the type of sample used for the stats for adolescents? Please explain further the same-sex/ex-gay study you brought up about 16-22 year olds. How was this sample chosen? What were the criteria? Please provide additional information about the specific quotes you made about there being more ex-gay than gay adolescents (along with the sources of these statistics)? How did you collect the data (how was the data collected) for the study showing that there are "more ex-gays than gays"? How many people were surveyed? How were they surveyed? Where (geographical spread) were they surveyed?
The 2013 National Health Interview Study performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1.6% of adults identify as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% identify as bisexual – a total of 2.3%. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr077.pdf. Based on data such as the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, scientists have determined that a significant number of individuals have lost their same-sex attractions. See Lisa Diamond, Just How Different Are Male and Female Homosexuality, http://www.cornell.edu/video/lisa-diamond-on-sexual-fluidity-of-men-and-women. The identification that there are more ex-gays than gays was made by Dr. Neil Whitehead. He wrote "Numbers of people changing towards exclusive OSA are greater than the current total numbers of bisexuals and exclusive SSA people combined. This surprising figure supports the catch-phrase circulating ten years ago: ‘Ex-gays outnumber actual gays.’ About 3% of both men and women with exclusive OSA claim to have once been something else." Neil Whitehead, My Genes Made Me Do It!: Homosexuality and the Scientific Evidence, pp. 230-231, available at http://www.mygenes.co.nz/PDFs/Ch12.pdf.
Dr. Whitehead based his conclusions on the journal article: Savin-Williams RC, Ream GL. 2007. Prevalence and stability of sexual orientation components during adolescence and young adulthood. Archives of Sexual Behavior 36:385-394. That article, in turn, analyzed the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, a national study of 90,000 students on various issues, including sexual attractions, from 1994 to the present. More detailed questions about the geography, sample size, or other aspects of the study can be answered through visiting the Add Health website at http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth/design.
4. If the cross on Mt. Soledad doesn’t have to come down because it "doesn’t matter," then why have you historically opposed events such as the Supreme Drag Superstar . . . why does that matter?
The United States is both a democracy and a pluralistic society. However, the principles of democracy and pluralism can often conflict. To deal with those conflicts, various provisions were written into the Constitution. Thus in total, the Constitution maintains the rights of the majority except in certain specific situations in which minority rights triumph. The rights of religion and irreligion are one of those minority rights regulated by the Constitution –specifically by prohibiting the Federal or State governments from "mak[ing a] law respecting an establishment of religion." U.S. Const. Amend. I. In the case of the Mt. Soledad Cross, a certain atheist individual
believes that the Mt. Soledad Cross violates the Constitutional prohibition on "an establishment of religion." This is simply inaccurate and the government’s maintenance of the Mt. Soledad Cross as a war memorial is perfectly constitutional. More importantly, the litigating individual believes based on ideology that it is somehow improper for the government to maintain the Mt. Soledad Cross. Reasonable people can disagree concerning whether it is proper for the government to maintain the Mt. Soledad Cross, but we believe that the Cross actually serves to better illustrate our Nation’s plurality by not relegating any aspect of her citizens’ identities to only the privacy of their homes. Moreover, the cross is a fitting symbol of self-sacrifice for our Nation’s fallen soldiers and sailors.
The University of San Diego is neither a democracy nor a pluralistic institution. It is a Roman Catholic institution of higher education. Just as a mathematician does not accept that two plus two could equal either four or five, depending on one’s view, the Catholic Church does not accept that engaging in homosexual sex could be either moral or immoral, depending on one’s view. Instead, the Catholic Church holds that its sexual morality is objective, determinable through reason, and inerrant – similar in that regard to mathematics. Permitting a mathematician to come onto campus and teach that two plus two equal five, when it is objectively and demonstrably not the case, defeats the purpose of learning mathematics at all. Similarly permitting individuals to come onto USD and teach demonstrably incorrect sexual morality – demonstrably incorrect when compared to inerrant Catholic dogma – defeats the purpose of learning about sexual morality at all. In addition, permitting demonstrably incorrect teaching to be brought onto Catholic campuses serves to defeat the pluralistic nature of our Nation, since pluralism – in a mature form – permits individuals to form groups that hold their members to certain truths without imposing those truths on other members of our Nation. For more information see the website www.AlumniForACatholicUSD.org especially the "Church Teaching" section.
5. Regardless of the fact that being LGBTQ is not genetic, why does that mean they don’t deserve the same rights as others?
Homosexual persons do deserve the same rights as heterosexual persons. Through statutory regimes already in place homosexual persons already have the same rights as non-homosexuals with regard to healthcare, education, housing and employment. The rights of homosexuals are particularly protected in California which, through the creation of "domestic partnerships" grants homosexual persons the same statutory rights and protections of married couples. The real issue is whether the protection of homosexual rights is of sufficient import to permit it to overbear the rights of other individuals, primarily children and individuals who identify with an ideological system which respects the importance of marriage.
Children have the right to be raised by their biological parents since being raised in that manner has the best outcomes for the child. This right can be inadvertently destroyed, for example through the death of a parent, but to intentionally destroy it violates the rights of the child. Moreover, numerous individuals both religious and
secular, homosexual and heterosexual, believe that the only healthy way for a society to define marriage is as a union between a man and a woman. Although persons on either side of this issue will disagree, the statistics do show that a life-long, monogamous, male-female, marriage is the healthiest way of living one’s life. It creates the greatest outcomes financially, spiritually, emotionally and physically for the individuals involved. Compare Richard Niolon, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially, October 23, 2010, Psychpage, http://www.psychpage.com/family/brwaitgalligher.html with Rick Fitzgibbons, Top 12 Studies Showing Risks to Couples in Same-Sex Unions, December 18, 2014, Life Site News, https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/top-12-studies-showing-risks-to-couples-in-same-sex-unions. These benefits, in the aggregate, then greatly benefit society. The statistics also show that homosexual individuals and homosexual unions are not similar to their heterosexual counterparts. These dissimilarities include the reality that homosexual unions are statistically of short duration and non-monogamous in comparison to heterosexual marriages. These statistics are not the result of any intolerance of homosexuality, as shown by statistics taken of homosexuals in the Netherlands. Theo Sandfort, Ron de Graaf, et al., Same-sex Sexual Behavior and Psychiatric Disorders, Archives of General Psychiatry, 58(1): 85-91, p. 89 and Table 2 (January 2001). Nor are the statistics the result of a heterosexism, since homosexuals will frequently readily admit that they desire short, non-monogamous marriages. The opposition to permitting homosexual to be "married" comes not from a desire to inhibit the rights of homosexuals, but rather from the belief that protecting the institution of marriage is more important.
6. If your statistics are true, explain how gay conversion therapy does not work for over 90% of individuals.
Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) typically is successful for about two-thirds of individuals. Approximately one-third achieve a significant benefit, with either full heterosexual functioning and no latent homosexuality, or full heterosexual functioning and the ability to control being aroused homosexually. The other one-third achieves a benefit from SOCE, but not to the degree they would desire – typically they are able to cease engaging in homosexual sex, and can engage in heterosexual sex, but also retain inadvertent homosexual attractions alongside their newly developed heterosexual attractions. See Gerard van den Aardweg, Homosexuality and Hope: A Psychologist Talks About Treatment and Change, 1985, p. 105 (shows 22.2% achieving full change, 45% achieving partial benefit); Judd Marmor, Homosexual Behavior: A Modern Reappraisal, 1980, p. 277 (full change is possible in 20%-50%); Irving Bieber, Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study, 1962, pp. 276-301 (27% became exclusively heterosexual, 32% became either inactive or bisexual, and 41% remained exclusively homosexual).
These numbers are consistent with therapy generally, which breaks down into those individuals who achieved significant benefit, partial benefit, and no benefit. Mary Lee Smith, Gene V. Glass, Meta-Analysis of Psychotherapy Outcome Studies, American Psychologist, Sept. 1977, p.752 ("About all we’ve been able to prove is that a third of
the people get better, a third of the people stay the same, and a third of the people get worse, irregardless [sic] of the treatment to which they are subjected."); Martin E.P. Seligman, The Effectiveness of Psychotherapy, The Consumer Reports Study, American Psychologist, Dec. 1995, p. 965. (shows 54% achieving significant benefit, 33% achieving some benefit, 13% achieving no benefit). With all types of therapy, some individuals do deteriorate while undergoing that therapy – whether this is merely concurrent with the therapy, or whether there is a causal connection is unclear. Michael J. Lambert, Bergin and Garfield's Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, 2013, p. 192. ("The relatively consistent portion of adults (5% to 10%) and a shockingly high proportion of children (14% to 24%) who deteriorate while participating in treatment – especially in routine care – begs for solutions."). What is clear, however, is that "research studies provide no clear indication of the prevalence of harmful outcomes among people who have undergone efforts to change their sexual orientation or the frequency of occurrence of harm." American Psychological Association, Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation, 2009, p. 42.
7-8. You cite change in sexuality as a reason why being gay is not biological but couldn’t the reason for this be that discrimination & societal changes are causing these people to report different sexuality? Do you think that someone might be "ex-gay" because it is easier to identify as heterosexual in a heteronormative world and to get rid of the ridicule that comes with identifying in any other way?
We live in a pluralistic society, and certainly certain individuals choose to identify with different sexual orientations for various reasons independent of their actual attractions. For example, numerous lesbian-feminist academicians have stated that they choose to identify as lesbians because it was more accepted within their feminist-normative environment to be lesbian, and because they saw being lesbian as a means of protesting patriarchal systems. See Suzanna Danuta Walters, The Power in ‘Choosing to be Gay’, June 3, 2014, The Atlantic; Claudia Dreifus, A Conversation With – Anne Fausto-Sterling; Exploring What Makes Us Male or Female, January 2, 2011, New York Times, Science Section. Societal changes certainly do influence how people report their sexual orientations, either homosexual or heterosexual, and change their reporting of their sexual orientations. But societal changes are certainly not the only factor, probably not the determinative factor, and no less a legitimate factor than any other factor which motivates personal growth.
Ostensibly, certain ex-gays (1) could have failed in changing their sexual orientation, and only be identifying as heterosexual when they retain significant homosexual attractions; or (2) even if they succeeded in changing their sexual orientation, only chose to do so as a result of societal pressure. Both options, admittedly, could represent a less-than-ideal situation. Both options, however, do not represent the vast majority of testimonials and exist merely as hypotheticals with no real-world backing. The majority of ex-gay individuals report their sexual orientation honestly – they often report that they continue to have the ability to become sexually aroused by members of the same-sex, but do not engage that ability, either by fantasizing about homosexual sex, looking at homosexual pornography, or in any other way engaging
their homosexual potential. Ex-gay individuals also oftentimes report their motivations for change. Although there is no means of measuring whether they are being honest in reporting their motivations, there is also little reason to doubt their reports.
Ex-gay individuals report that they identify as heterosexual and ex-gay because they sought happier, healthier lives for themselves and decided that the means of achieving those happier, healthier lives was through leaving their homosexual pasts behind them. Ex-gays are also not limited to those individuals who only had negative experiences of homosexuality – many had relatively long, stable relationships and were accustomed to living as homosexuals in our heteronormative world. Nor are they limited to individuals easily brought down by societal pressures – ex-gay individuals include highly-educated and successful professionals and business men and women. Rather, like any group, ex-gays include individuals of all different persuasions and personalities, and dismissing all of them as merely liars or self-deluders is intellectually dishonest. To read the testimonials of ex-gays and determine for yourself whether you believe their stories, visit www.Voices-Of-Change.org
Questions Relating to Natural Law and Theology:
1. Why is your definition of "what sex is for" the "right" one?
The first question really is whether anything can have a "purpose" independent of the purpose given to it by individuals. The Ford Motor Co., makes cars, and they give those cars the purpose of transporting people. An individual who buys that car – who did not design it – can change its purpose, and decide that it will instead serve the purpose of entertaining people by being pummeled in a monster truck rally. Similarly, our bodies have natural processes, including sexuality, eating, and sleeping. The question then becomes, did something – i.e., evolution or God – give those processes a first purpose such as reproduction, body nourishment, or body refreshment similar to the purpose of the car to transport people. Or do we, as the inheriting masters of those processes, decide what their purposes will be? This is simply an ideological divide where certain individuals can maintain that they have the absolute right to dictate the purpose of any aspect of their body – regardless of whether it is for their good or not – and other individuals attempt to align the purpose of processes with what appear to be the design based on evolution, moral reasoning, or simply what produces a good result.
We believe that we can determine the purpose of sexuality based on looking at both evolution and practical results. In that regard, evolution clearly shows that the primary purpose of sexuality is reproduction and propagation of the species. Further, statistical surveys clearly show that life-long, monogamous, male-female unions, provide the best results for the individuals involved and their children.
Of course, sexuality has secondary purposes besides the primary purpose of reproduction, such as the creation of intimacy or simple pleasure. To argue that those
secondary purposes are in fact the primary purpose, ignores all the science on biology, evolution, and reproduction – reproduction is simply the driving force behind each aspect of sexuality, and across all species. Moreover, all natural processes – including sexuality – are similar in that the removal of the primary purpose ends up leading to negative side effects for the individual. If one eats, but, through bulimia, removes the nourishment aspect of eating in favor of only the pleasurable aspect of eating, one suffers harsh, physical and psychological consequences. These consequences need not be so severe as to deter bulimia – and indeed individuals can continue to regularly engage in bulimic patterns for years, and function normally in society. However, neither the bulimic nor the sexual deviant are receiving the optimal use of their natural processes because they are abusing them.
We believe that for their benefit, and in total the aggregate benefit of society, the promotion of the secondary purposes of natural processes over the primary purposes, should be discouraged.
2. How do you explain the increase in the size of the LGBTQ community?
The LGBTQ community is only 2.3% of the United States population. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr077.pdf. Prior to the last one hundred and fifty years, there were no members of the LGBTQ community – nobody took their sexual preferences and made them into an intrinsic part of their personal identity. Consequently, although the number 2.3% is small, it is immensely larger than the previous number of 0%. Moreover, if individuals with homosexual attractions do not proceed to identify those attractions as central to their identity, they tend to dissipate over time. Neil Whitehead, My Genes Made Me Do It!: Homosexuality and the Scientific Evidence, available at http://www.mygenes.co.nz/PDFs/Ch12.pdf. Consequently, the number of individuals prior to one hundred and fifty years ago with homosexual attractions was probably significantly less than 2.3% of the population.
The reason why the LGBTQ community has grown is simply because members of that community, and persons affiliated with them, have been amazingly adept at promoting the message that homosexuality is innate, immutable, benign, natural, and simply more akin to left-handedness than to bulimia. The campaign to promote that message was not accidental, but rather coordinated. See Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90's (1990); Robert R. Reilly, Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything (2014); see also Mass Resistance, The homosexual propaganda campaign in America's media, available at http://www.massresistance.org/docs/issues/gay_strategies/after_the_ball.html. Lastly, the campaign to promote that message has been overwhelmingly successful. It has been so successful that even proffering the notion that the reproductive organs are most naturally and healthily used for reproduction – and that sexual appetites are most natural and healthy when geared toward reproduction – is often met with vilification and charges of bigotry.
3. 2 Samuel 1:26 records: David’s lament after Jonathan’s death, in which he said that his love for Jonathan was more than the love of a woman. How would you describe their relationship?
The Sacred Scriptures are clear that the love between a man and a woman is the ideal form of love. They are also clear that they restrict sexual expression to the marital embrace. Those sacred writings further make clear God’s plan for men and women, made in His image and likeness, to become one-flesh through the conjugal union. Genesis 1:27; 2:24. It is only the holy union of a husband and wife that God uses to describe the relationship between Him and His people. Jeremiah 3:4. And it is only such a gendered union that allows humanity to fulfill God’s mandate to be fruitful and multiply. Genesis 1:28. Those same sacred writings of Jews and Christians alike condemn homosexual conduct in the strongest terms, even calling the act of sodomy an "abomination." Leviticus 20:13. Consequently, interpreting that passage to mean anything beyond that David and Jonathan had a deep friendship – perhaps even a friendship so deep that it was more important to David than his love for any woman – would contradict numerous other passages in Sacred Scripture. Holding that one skewed interpretation of one passage is more important than the clear text of numerous other passages is intellectually dishonest.
4. How is celibacy the answer for having a "burning desire" when you have a homosexual inclination? 1 Cor. (7:9) speaks about marrying if you burn with passion, but what do you do with those passions if the release of those burning desires is sinful (to the church)?
This question simply poses a false analogy. It is righteous to abstain from sex as it is righteous to abstain from alcohol. However, if one cannot abstain from sex, marriage is a possible answer. If one cannot abstain from alcohol, marriage will serve no purpose. Instead, another answer must be found. Similarly, marriage is simply not the answer to an inability to abstain from homosexual conduct – it simply does not fit the situation. However, like heterosexuals who cannot control their sexual behavior, homosexuals can benefit from therapy aimed at helping them control their sexual behavior. Moreover, homosexual marriage would also not be a proper answer to homosexual promiscuity because the statistics show that homosexual relationships are not monogamous, but rather promiscuous. See "Commitment" in Male Homosexual Couples at http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02.
5. If same-sex sex is sinful because it is going against God’s purpose and is unnatural, is an eating disorder sinful as well? For it is also unnatural.
A disorder itself is not sinful. Neither homosexuality nor bulimia as conditions are sinful. "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent." Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 1857. Damaging the body, however, – including forced vomiting and sodomy – is a grave matter. Id. at § 1858. "Mortal sin [also] requires full knowledge and complete consent." Id. at § 1859. Consequently, a person must know
their act is sinful, and consciously choose to engage in it. With respect to an eating disorder, the degree to which the person is consciously choosing to participate in the disorder, and the degree to which the person is addicted or otherwise incapable of not choosing to participate in the disorder, cannot be known except by the person. One might also find that some individuals who engage in bulimic practices do not wish to label it a "disorder", and instead feel that it is authentic for them. Ultimately, whether any activity is sinful comes down to whether the act is a grave matter, committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.
6. So if I have sex and don’t intend to have a baby, am I also condemned? What if I am heterosexual but I don’t want to [put] my penis in a vagina? I’m still heterosexual . . . am I still condemned?
Catholic teaching distinguishes between judgment and condemnation. For example, everyone can judge the attributes of coffee, whether it is hot or cold, based on their innate faculty. Everyone can also condemn that coffee – if we wanted hot coffee, but it has cooled down, we can pour it down the drain. Similarly, everyone can judge the acts of individuals, if we meet a person and they state that they killed a man with full knowledge that it was wrong, we can judge that they committed a sin. Unlike with coffee, however, we cannot condemn people. We cannot say that because one is heterosexual, but prefers sodomy, one is condemned – that type of judgment is reserved to God.
The issue here is whether a person is engaging in immoral behavior. People are neither sinful nor righteous based on their membership in a class. Consequently, just like homosexual persons are not sinful because they are homosexual, heterosexual persons are not righteous because they are heterosexual. Engaging in onanistic practices, including sodomy and masturbation, is immoral regardless of one’s sexual orientation.
7. How do you feel about transsexual people? Should they not be allowed to have sex after a sex change operation?
One cannot change one’s sex through bodily disfigurement – this is supported by both religion and science. Recently, Johns Hopkins University stopped performing sex-change operations because they discovered that the surgery provides no benefits. http://alumniforacatholicusd.org/13-Transgender_is_Mental-Disorder.pdf. Moreover, Individuals often find that sex-change operations do not alleviate all of their distress – and when they then proceed to regular therapy to have their residual distress treated, they find that their gender dysphoria is treated as well – to the point that they regret their sex-change operations. https://sites.google.com/a/sexchangeregret.com/www/.
Individuals who have participated in sex-change operations are no different than the rest of us. Male-to-female transsexuals remain male, and consequently the only moral expression of sexuality for them to engage in is a life-long, monogamous, relationship with a woman. Unfortunately, the sex-change procedures essentially neuter
individuals and thus they may not be able to even engage in sexual intercourse. This does not change, however, the nature of immoral sexual acts into moral ones.
8. Why is homosexual sex pleasurable if it doesn’t bring about the chance for procreation?
We have free will. Along with that free will is a limited ability to alter our nature – for example through the developments of habits or thinking patterns. Within that limited ability to alter our nature is the ability to derive pleasure from whatever we want, including immoral or unnatural acts – for example, drinking bitter coffee. This shows that whether any act is pleasurable is quite distinct from whether any act is good, moral or natural.
In addition, the issue is really not limited to homosexual sex – Why is contraceptive sex pleasurable? Why is heterosexual sodomy pleasurable? Why is pornography pleasurable? From an evolutionary perspective, this question probably is best answered by a biologist, who would say that evolution simply did not anticipate that we would intentionally remove reproduction from sexuality. From a moral perspective, the answer is probably that the decision whether to respect or abuse our sexuality is one that we must make for ourselves, and we should be willing to accept the consequences when we choose wrongly.